Talent Acquisition

I Never Heard Back!!!

Tanjia Coleman
August 23, 2021

For many years recruiters have truly struggled with whether they should actually give candidates the feedback that they’ve received throughout an organization from hiring managers regarding that candidate’s interview. There’s a notion that many recruiters don’t give any feedback; they simply say, “we selected a candidate that we felt better fit the needs of the position, have a great day and we wish you the best in your future career search.”

Legally employers are not required to supply job candidates with information about their interview or ultimately why they were not hired for the job.  According to a recent survey by the Talent Board, they found that 69.7% of candidates received no feedback after being rejected during the screening and interviewing stages of their candidacy.  

During a recent LinkedIn Survey, with over 9,000 views and over 260 respondents, 81% indicated that they were either never contacted or contacted with no feedback regarding their interview.  Recruiters advised this is due four main concerns:

  1. Fear of risk, 
  2. Recruiter workload 
  3. Concern over the candidate’s reaction 
  4. Difficulty in making the call and sharing the news

Conversely, you have the recruiters that try to give feedback but it’s on the peripheral so they might say something like. “well maybe your resume could’ve been more specific or perhaps you could’ve been clearer in your examples or more succinct. “

Last, we have the truly authentic recruiter that actually tells you what happened during your interview and where you missed the mark so that you can be better the next time.

When I was a recruiter, I strived to be the “authentic” recruiter and I remember very specifically informing a candidate of what they could have done better in the interview that would’ve made them a better candidate. It was all business by saying to the candidate that the feedback consisted of their need to have more specificity in their examples, detailing how their leadership positively impacted the organization’s growth because the hiring managers didn’t have a good grasp on the percentage of growth the organization experienced based upon the candidate’s leadership.  I thought providing this specific feedback would help that candidate along in their next interview, also just being more succinct in the responses, not talking for five minutes when you clearly see that the interviewer is no longer interested after three minutes.  However, being the authentic recruiter did not necessarily pay off in my case because the candidate called or emailed every single person that they met as part of the interview slate and expressed their displeasure with the feedback and outcome.   I was quickly contacted and told not to further provide candidates with specific feedback but instead say the canned responses outlined above.  So, the lesson learned from this was don’t give specific feedback because it can put the organization in a precarious position however I was always of the notion that providing feedback would really help equip candidates for their future interview.  With these insights, they could really focus on where to focus for improvement to land their next opportunity.  

How can we all do better?

To candidates, here’s what I’ll say to you: it’s imperative that you have the ability to take the feedback and digest it to sharpen your tool kit for the next time.  Don’t use it as an opportunity to seek out revenge when the feedback is job-based and factual and not breaking any type of EEOC laws.  Instead, reflect on every aspect of the interview and be honest with yourself to determine if there are areas for improvement.  On the other hand, if you feel you weren’t selected due to some protective class reasons that is a different scenario to pursue.  However, this is not what we are discussing here.

To recruiters, it is incumbent upon us to help candidates improve upon their interviewing skills.  We should want to assist so that these candidates are not in the job market for the next six to twelve months engaging in the same practices without seeing results or landing their dream job. Therefore, it's incumbent upon both candidate and recruiter to have the ability to talk and communicate authentically and share best practices for the candidate to improve upon.   We have all gone through the process of interviewing so it will serve you better to digest the feedback so that you can be better the next time versus approaching the situation from a place of anger and lashing out at the individual trying to assist by giving information that will help you land your next opportunity.   It certainly beats receiving those static responses.  Perhaps, the next time you are given one of those static responses simply ask the recruiter the question and say “whatever you tell me will be held in the highest form of confidence, I want to improve, I want to land my next opportunity and I don’t want to hear this sentence again.  I want to hear you’re hired! What is it that I can do to make myself better?”  I can assure you that most recruiters who hear such a plea will try to give you feedback to tighten up your interviewing skills.  However, you must mean it when you say it and act accordingly.  We’re all in this together recruiters have also been candidates; we all understand what it’s like to interview with a panel or to interview via video conferencing.  These processes can take a day or several weeks.  We have all been on the other side of that table as an interviewee and so we understand and want to help so part of that is ensuring that a relationship is established that information is provided it’s not going to come back and be used as a tool to hurt the recruiter or hurt the person that’s giving you the information but really utilized to assist you become a better interviewee.  

According to the Talent Board Survey, there three positive outcomes for employers that provide candidates with interview feedback: 

  1. A 52% increase in the relationship with the candidate meaning these candidates will either apply for another role within the organization and/or refer others 
  2. Enhances the reputation and integrity of the organization.  This transparency provides information to the candidate that can decrease lawsuits for discriminatory practices.  
  3. Engages in social media to encourage business or share their positive interviewing experience.

We all need each other; candidates need recruiters and recruiters need candidates.  Let’s take advantage of every opportunity, to bring the “human” back into the process.  

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